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The Canary Center is utilizing expertise to enhance COVID-19 vaccinations

March 8, 2021

COVID-19 is caused by a novel strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which infects cells along the respiratory tract. Early on in the pandemic, Dr. Ramasamy Paulmurugan’s research group sought to explore a non-invasive and efficient vaccination strategy to raise the immune system to fight against COVID-19 at the initial site of infection: the nasopharyngeal region and the lungs.

The pulmonary immune system is considered a major immune organ in humans, containing the majority of T cells, which respond rapidly to infections in the respiratory tract. Hence, developing a vaccination approach for respiratory mucosal immune system can mount a strong immune response against the virus and raise the amount of resident memory B and T cells to provide a long-lasting neutralizing and cell mediated immunity to infectious agents.

With this promising scope in sight, Dr. Paul’s research group is exploring intranasal delivery of a multivalent mRNA vaccine, that effectively induced antibodies as early as two weeks after two doses of the DNA vaccine. This is expected to provide a long-term immunity to COVID-19.

Currently the team is expanding the study to multivalent mRNA vaccine for its wide spectrum antibody to encounter a range of mutant strains, which are dominating and contributing to second and third waves of infection around the world.